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Black Agnes

(Agnes Randolph of Dunbar)

1312–1369

Black Agnes
WHEN A STONE HIT THE WALLS, BLACK AGNES WOULD BID HER MAIDS WIPE THE SPOT WITH A CLEAN WHITE CLOTH.
Black Agnes is a heroic character of the Scottish Wars of Independence. Her father, Thomas Randolph, was one of the leading generals of Robert the Bruce, and her husband, the Earl of Dunbar served both Robert Bruce, and his son David.

Shortly after Edward III came to the throne, he sought to reconquer Scotland, which had been lost to England by his incompetent father. To this end, he raised an army under Edward Baliol, son of the Scottish prince that Edward I had unsuccessfully attempted to place on the Scottish throne, and invaded Scotland. Although the England armies were largely victorious, the ever-defiant Scots refused to submit, and little was accomplished.

The English sought to besiege Dunbar Castle, which had been left under the guard of Black Agnes while her husband was serving under David II, but Agnes frustrated every effort, even commanding her maids to "wipe the spot clean" whenever a stone hit the castle walls. When her brother was captured by the English, she told them to go ahead and hang him, since then she would inherit all of his lands. He survived the episode, and her defiant attitude, which exemplified the tone of Scottish resistance, won the day. The siege was raised after four months.


Key events during the life of Black Agnes:


Year
Event
1312
Birth of Black Agnes
1314
Battle of Bannockburn, critical battle of the First War of Scottish Independence.
1332
Second War of Scottish Independence breaks out when Edward Baliol defeats the Scots.
1338
Agnes successfully defends Dunbar Castle
1346
Scots are defeated at the Battle of Neville's Cross.
1369
Death of Black Agnes.

Other Resources


Story Links
Book Links
David II.—The Story of Black Agnes  in  Scotland's Story  by  Henrietta Elizabeth Marshall


Image Links


When a stone hit the walls, Black Agnes would bid her maids wipe the spot with a clean white cloth
 in Scotland's Story


Contemporary
Short Biography
Thomas Randolph Kinsman and military leader of Robert the Bruce.
Earl of Salisbury Besieged Dunbar Castle, but was turned away by Black Agnes
David II of Scotland Son of Robert the Bruce; king of Scotland during the second War of Independence
Edward Balliol Usurper of the Scottish crown, backed by England.
Earl of Dunbar Husband of Agnes, absent during the seige of Dunbar.